There were 375 new COVID-19 cases citywide reported on the COVID-19 case tracking dashboard through May 29th, a 52% decrease in new cases from last week when Boston had 779 new cases. Boston’s Emergency Departments (ED) reported that 3.5% of all ED visits were for COVID-19-like illness (CLI). This is down from 4.5% the prior week. Half (50.5%) of COVID-19 patients in the City of Boston have recovered. Boston’s total number of reported positive cases stands at 12,681.
There were twenty new coronavirus cases reported this week in the Downtown, North End, Beacon Hill and Back Bay neighborhoods according to the Boston Public Health Commission’s report through May 28th. The total number of cases for downtown neighborhoods stands at 454, a rate of 81.5 per 10,000 residents.
The City of Boston’s total number of deaths stands at 634. There was a 31% decrease in coronavirus-related deaths this week with 31 new deaths. There were no new deaths in the City on Thursday, May 28th.
Officials orchestrated a phased reopening on May 18th, permitting some sectors of construction, manufacturing, and houses of worship to resume operations. On May 26th, businesses such as car washes, drive-in movie theaters, hair salons and barbershops were allowed to reopen. Other businesses such as retail, auto dealers, and wholesalers were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery only.
On June 1st, office spaces in Boston will begin to reopen at restricted capacity. The City published suggestions for best practices to supplement the Commonwealth’s guidance for returning to the workplace. The City has launched a website to assist employers in acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) for their workers so that businesses can reopen safely.
In preparation for increased commuters as the City reopens, Mayor Marty Walsh has urged employees to continue allowing those who can to work from home and has suggested staggering start times as a way to lessen the strain on public transportation. The MBTA will continue to enforce social distancing, require riders to wear face coverings, and regularly disinfect high-contact surfaces. The T plans to reduce ridership on buses to twenty people and on trains to 40-50% capacity. However, the MBTA will not return to full service until the final phase of reopening.
Mayor Walsh announced a new “Healthy Streets” program aimed at expanding bus stops and bus lanes, building bike lanes, and providing outdoor seating for restaurants to support in COVID-19 recovery.
In addition, officials announced a Reopen Boston Fund which will provide reopening grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. To qualify, a business must have less than 15 employees, a brick and mortar space in Boston, be in good standing with the City, and require close physical engagement with its customers. Funds will be released in three rounds, corresponding with the state’s reopening plan.
The Boston Relief Fund has distributed approximately $4 million to small businesses across the City. Dozens of local businesses received grants up to $10,000. See the list here.
North End/Waterfront Health (NEW Health) created a pop-up testing site at Villa Michelangelo Senior Housing where the population has high at-risk residents for contracting the coronavirus. The North End Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center currently has one patient in the hospital with COVID-19 with no residents having tested positive at this time.
For the first time in 124 years, the Boston Marathon was officially cancelled after being rescheduled from April 20th to September 14th. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) will be organizing a virtual race where participants can run between September 7th-14th, allowing marathoners to take part across the world.
Mayor Walsh announced the news during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, stating that “it is not feasible this year”. The Marathon joins other notable Boston events that have been canceled this summer including the North End feasts, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular for the 4th of July, and concerts across the City.
Massachusetts currently has 95,512 positive cases. Approximately 16.7% of all tests have resulted in a positive case. The state has reported a total of 6,718 deaths with 490 new deaths this week. About 62% of all deaths are attributed to long-term care facilities with 4,180 reported.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that there were no new cases in the downtown neighborhoods and has since been updated.